Friday Night Nosh – Or Thoughts on Sex, Power, and Control

This is a big second chakra issue, so I posted this on my Chakra Experiment blog . . .

I got together last night with my friend Wendy and her friend Marjorie for nibbles and libations.

Toward the end of the evening we got to talking about celibacy and religion. It began when I was talking about my training as a yoga teacher. One of the swami’s told us that tantra didn’t exist and then in the same sentence said it was a left-hand path. (does it exist or doesn’t it?) The bottom line was they advocated bramacharya (in the simplest sense, celibacy).

So the question we left the night with was: Why are religions so hung up on sexuality? Why is celibacy necessary in order to reach spiritual enlightenment? It’s across the board with most Western religions and at least what I learned of eastern (Hindu) religion that I studied at the ashram.

My first thought was that when societies were matrilineal and women had ownership of land, they had the power. At some point in western history, male priests married women (landowners), got their land, then declared that women had no rights and witch hunts ensued, etc., etc.

Sexuality is fluid, feminine. Subjugate women, subjugate sexuality.

Fertility/sexuality was also where women held power. Women are the givers of life, they also knew what to do/what herbs to take in order to prevent pregnancy. Furthermore, women have the capacity to have sex ongoing whereas men can ejaculate a few times a day and that’s it. From a purely biological, propagate-the-species-point-of-view, maybe women are built this way to a) have the capacity to receive a lot of pleasure to make the pain and danger of childbirth worth it and/or b) have the capacity to have sex with many different partners so that the sperm of the healthiest partner gets through, hopefully guaranteeing stronger, more fit offspring. (Of course, if you don’t believe in evolution . . . what can I say?)

That leaves another problem for men. It means that they can never be sure if they are the baby-daddy. (Well, now that there’s DNA testing and Maury Povitch . . . )

Getting away from the “power over women” point of view, having a healthy sexual relationship with a person requires the ability to be loving and trusting and vulnerable. It takes time and energy. It requires us to be open with our feelings and accepting of our partner. We must resist the urge to control or be controlled. How many of us actually have the willingness to go deep, to surrender? How many of us have had the experience of letting our egos go so utterly completely with another person that we realize we are “One with the Universe” and that the love we are experiencing is expanding in that universe? (It’s the grooviest experience ever!)

Some religions teach that the only way to really experience total surrender is to actually physically die. So, perhaps a reason to fear sex? Some people even fear meditation for that very reason!

From a yogic standpoint, when you have sex with someone, you pick up your partner’s energy and they pick up yours. You exchange karma, essentially. Not just from this lifetime, but from all the millions of past lifetimes. So, if you’re focus is on releasing your karma and ceasing to be reincarnated, then it would make sense to just avoid sex altogether.

Or how about this — if we are enjoying life and our partners, maybe we won’t be so compelled to acquire more “things”. Maybe we’d realize we don’t have to consume so much, make more money, submit to slavery. That leaves less tithing money for the church (temple, synagogue, you fill in the blank).

Or maybe we’d we feel so good enjoying our sexuality, we wouldn’t have to go to church at all? We might start beginning to have our own ideas about spirituality and enlightenment. We might even decide to make up our own rituals.

Every person has sexuality. Make people feel ashamed about sexuality, and you have power over them. When our view of nature is distorted, we can’t be sure of anything. Instead of looking within and listening to our own answers (because now we are stupid and afraid and “sinful”), we look outside of ourselves for what is “right”. So the preacher in the pulpit who makes us feel shame and guilt must be right, or the talking head shouting at us from CNN or FOX must be right, or our neighbor with the SUV and the Prada handbag must be right. Whatever makes us feel inadequate must be right, no?

Since we’re looking outside of ourselves for validation, we must also look outside of ourselves for what is “invalid”. If we are harsh judges of ourselves, how harsh are we going to be on others? The more we look outside ourselves for what is wrong with everyone else, the less we know ourselves, and, the more “evil” we see in the world. As we further lose sight of ourselves, we lose personal power. It’s a cycle, because the more powerless we feel, the more we need validation. The less we know what really makes us happy, the more we need someone (or a talking box) to tell us what is “good for us”.

So, sex isn’t “bad”. What’s bad are the power trips surrounding sex, and because sex is so powerful, there are a lot of them.

OK, my 2nd chakra rant of the day is done for now. I think I opened a huge can of worms, and I could keep going. These are just general ideas, perhaps I will go back and work on more comprehensive drafts. Right now I need a shower and to stretch my periformas and psoas muscles.

 

 

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